Hey guys it’s Sam, and 2011 has gone by excruciatingly fast. It’s already the final quarter of the year! So, as my gaming senses are tingling (as well as my snotty nostrils), I’ve decided to give out a list of games that the final quarter is so very proud to present. From the fighters to the strategies and everything in between, here are Q4 2011’s most anticipated games.

Street Fighter IV was a game-changer on its own. But bigger is better, so it got a rebalanced update we now know as Super Street Fighter IV. I guess the same thing happened with Marvel vs Capcom 3, because now it’s Ultimate MvC3. And despite Marvel being involved in the crossover, the game was entirely made by Capcom during and after the earthquake and tsunami that shook and stirred Japan, as well as this game’s DLC schedules before morphing into a standalone title.

Gameplay: This game, it being a mere update, has gameplay almost identical to that of its predecessor. The mechanics still utilize the tag-team effort of MvC3 where a player could switch between their 3 fighters at will even during a fight. During a match, a fighter can call for an assist, or a selected special move, at their will. One of the returning mechanics are the exchange button, allowing players to switch fighters in the midst of an air combo. The game has an 8-way directional system that allows jumping, crouching, and moving towards or away from the opponent. The X-factor returns, but has a shorter duration and less strength boost comparing to its previous installment, but it can now be enabled airborne.

Visuals: The game features 3-dimensional character models and backgrounds, but gameplay is solely restricted to a 2D plane.

Fun fact: Did you know that this game will be a launch title for the PlayStation Vita?

Without Bethesda Softworks, series like The Elder Scrolls and Fallout probably wouldn’t exist. And after its stumble this May with Brink, hopefully their first-person shooters can come back strong this October with Rage. The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic world following the impact of the 2029 Apophis, an asteroid. The player realizes he is the only survivor of the impact after an Ark malfunction. You may think its main premise is a bath of bullets, but players can actually race on dune buggies, get money, and upgrade their cars! For a shooter, I don’t think that’s going to work out well.

Engine: The game is the first of two to run under id Software’s new OpenGL 4.2-based id Tech 5 engine (the other being Doom 4).

Gameplay: At Electronic Entertainment Expo (aka E3), id Software’s creative director Tim Willits, stated that the core of Rage was to be a first-person shooter with the addition of vehicular combat (check please) without it being the premise of the game. The game also has RPG elements, alongside the world being populated with mutants, the main enemies of the game for at least the first half.

Multiplayer: Rage has 2 multiplayer modes: Combat Rally and Legends of the Wasteland. In Combat Rally, up to six players compete in a free-for-all match that takes place in an arena designed to make use of the vehicles. The objective is to collect rally points that appear around the arena while killing your opponents and stealing their points. Legends of the Wasteland is a series of two-player bonus co-op missions based on stories that you hear about as you play the single player campaign.

Fun fact: Did you know that Rage got a spinoff for the iPhone?

Strap on your headbands, and get your tennis shoes on. If there’s one game to slam-dunk into markets this October, it’s NBA 2K12. The game will release to almost 10 platforms, but the X360 and PS3 are the only two to render the 3D presentation.

Gameplay: For the first time, gamers will be able to control some of NBA’s most iconic players, such as Magic Johnson, Michael “Air Jordan”, and Kareem “Cap” Abdul-Jabbar, and pit them up against other teams to make dream match ups. These basketball legends have been recreated with an unnecessary amount of detail. Says Wikipedia, “Gamers will now tap into the legacy of these legendary athletes by utilizing their signature moves, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s unstoppable skyhook, to rule the virtual hardwood in NBA 2K12.” Another mode is the My Player mode, a close look at a basketball athlete’s career, even with the ability to get inducted into the B-Ball Hall of Fame. Due to the 2011 lockout, this game is unable to use rookies for the ’11-’12 season. Rookies can still be used if they are created yourself.

Soundtrack: 2K Sports and Duck Down Records hosted a competition for a song placement on the official soundtrack. After cutting thousands of entries down to ten, by popular vote producer Alex Kresovich (of New York) and rap group D.J.I.G. (of New Jersey) were the winners. Other artists on the soundtrack include Eminem & Royce da 5’9″, Freddie Gibbs, and James Pants.

Fun fact: This game is the first in the whole series with motion controls via the PlayStation Move.

Kaka bounds down the field with the ball.

It is history’s biggest franchise in soccer simulation. One of EA Sports’ most proudest accomplishments, it ranks as the seventh-most bestselling video game series in history. It is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or most commonly known as FIFA, introducing its nineteenth installment, FIFA 12, at the end of this month. A demo of this game has already been released since last Tuesday, the game heading for platforms as early as the PS2 to some that haven’t even been released yet, like the PlayStation Vita.

Gameplay: This game has several new features and improvements over its preceding installments. For the first time in years the game’s presenting and front end has been remodeled with familiar vertical menus being replaced by a side-scrolling system. Says Wikipedia, “A “trinity” of major gameplay changes have been implemented in FIFA 12; these are the Impact Engine, Tactical Defending, and Precision Dribbling.”

Soundtrack: The game’s OST features 39 established and breakthrough artists from almost 20 countries, covering a large amount of music genres. Some include Alex Metric (who has also been on the FIFA 10 soundtrack with “Head Straight”), The Strokes, and The Ting Tings.

I don’t usually think about overalls, but when I do, I’m thinking about Mario. Probably the most famous plumber across the country from America to Sweden. He always has an excuse to save Princess Peach (does he get tired of it?) with a smart premise for backup. When Mario’s not going on platforming adventures, he likes to tip in his hat and catch in his chest for a game of golf (Mario Golf), or travel with his friend Yoshi (Super Mario World), but he mostly enjoys putting the pedal to the metal in Mario Kart. And this is a way that Mario’s pedal has never been put to metal before…in 3D, as the ultimate Christmas present.

Gameplay: While replenishing some old Mario Kart traditions, Mario Kart 3DS (Mario Kart 7 is too, well…) does bring some new things in its package; vehicles can now be customized, with the decision of frames that range the weight, tires that affect a kart’s handling on certain surfaces, but the biggest new gadget Nintendo has announced is the hang-glider (not a kite, folks!) that allows racers to glide in midair. It can also be played in a 1st-person POV (point of view) utilizing gyroscopic controls. The game will also feature an arsenal of new weapons including the Fire Flower, also enabling underwater driving and earning boost by performing airborne tricks.(check please! )

Fun fact: Did you know that this game is the penultimate (second-last) game of 2011 alone? The final game of the year is BlazBlue Continuum Shift Extend for the PS3 and X360, due to release the 17th.

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I don’t want to go too long, because like they say, “Push yourself as hard enough so you can feel the burn—not to make it hurt.” This has been Sammwak, please subscribe and if you blog here, like this post. If you want more upcoming games, check Wikipedia’s “2011 in video gaming” for the whole year broken down into segments.

– Sam

p.s. Wish me luck on my first book report ever in the history of my life!

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